Sticky Rice with Mung Beans (Kichiri Qoroot)

Serves: 4 – 6

Yes I agree, sticky rice with mung beans doesn’t sound amazing.

Though trust me, it is. Just bare with me.

Over the Christmas break, I read an article in the Washington Post of the best cookbooks of 2020.

It featured an Afghani cookbook called Parwana and knowing how much Nat and I love Middle Eastern, it was promptly ordered on Amazon. (Plus the featured photo was amazing!)

What I didn’t realise is that it’s is an Australian cookbook from an Afghani family and restaurant in Adelaide, SA… called Parwana. Reading their backstory made me so happy.

Anyway, this is the first dish we had, wonderfully cooked by Nat.

We went through a bit of a Ethiopian phase a few months back and even did an Ethiopian feast and whilst the spice and flavours are unique, they’re not moorish.

Afghani food is.

It’s more honest, more homely than say Turkish. (Possibly this is a reflection of the home cooking nature of the book.)

And it’s unique in a particularly good way.

According to the book, this is traditionally a winter dish where the qoroot is a tart, reconstituted yoghurt which is something of an acquired taste; thus substituted with plain yoghurt which it is here. (There you go.)

We will cook much more from this book. I suspect many of the recipes will be typed up.

How fun.

Ingredients

4 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp tomato puree

For the mini kofta

1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
1 long fresh red chilli, coarsely chopped
Small handful fresh coriander, leaves and stems coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
250gm lamb mince
250gm lean beef mince
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the rice

1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 large brown onions, finely diced
1 large ripe tomato
2 cups medium-grain rice, rinsed
1 cup mung beans

For the toppings

3 cups Greek-style yoghurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Red and green long fresh chilli, thinly sliced, dried mint and mild paprika to garnish

Method

  1. To make the kofta, finely blend the onion, chilli, coriander and garlic in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and blend again to form a fine paste. Place the lamb and beef in a large mixing bowl, add the blended paste with the ground coriander, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix to combine well with your hands for 5 minutes or until the ingredients are re fully incorporated and the mixture is slightly sticky.
  2. Shape teaspoons of the kofta mixture into balls, place them on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to become slightly firm.
  3. Meanwhile, finely blend the tomato and garlic in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large frypan over a medium-high heat and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the blended tomato and garlic and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the sugar, curry powder, vinegar and 2 tsp salt and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste and mix well to co,nine. Add 3 cups of water to the sauce, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add the kofta to the pan, shaking the pan gently to make sure they are al submerged. Increase the heat to high, bring to the boil then reduce the temperature to medium. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened and is rich in colour. (This too us more than 25 minutes of course.)
  6. While the sauce is cooking, make the rice. Add the oil to a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the tomato has softened. Add the rice and mung beats with 6 cups of water and 3 tsp salt.
  7. Bring to the boil then reduce to low and stir in 1/2 cup more water. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the rice is cooked, soft and sticky, though not mushy.
  8. To make the toppings, whisk the yoghurt, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl to combine. (This will be poured into the centre of the kichiri qoroot.
  9. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a high heat to 170c. Remove from the heat and stir in the turmeric. Keep the oil hot.
  10. Before serving, ensure the mini kofta and sauce are hot. Spoon the rice out onto a large serving plater, making a well in the centre. Embed the mini kofta into the rice, drizzling some of the sauce over the rice as well. Garnish with chilli slices.
  11. Dot some yoghurt dressing around the kofta and pour it into the well in the centre of the rice. Sprinkle over the dried mint and paprika, then pour the hot turmeric oil over the yoghurt to create a sizzling centre on the plate. Serve immediately.

Beef Mince with Chilli, Basil and Snake Beans

Serves: 4

There is something so appealing – and so comfortable – about Thai mince on rice, beef or pork.

Fish sauce, plenty of chilli, a fried egg on top.

Perfect mid-week dinner territory.

I’ve typed up very similar, though this one is really quite simple and the addition of the snake beans is always a neat touch.

Ingredients

6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bullseye chillies, sliced and deseeded
4 tbsp vegetable oil plus extra for frying the eggs
750gm beef mince
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp castor sugar
2 cups Thai basil leaves
1 bunch snake beans, cut into 5cm batons
4 eggs
Steam Jasmine rice, to serve

Method

  1. Heat a wok over a medium heat until hot and ad the oil. Add the garlic and chilli and stir-fry for about two minutes until fragrant. Add the beef and stir fry until the beef is browned and cooked through.
  2. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and castor sugar and stir fry until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the snake beans and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Add the basil, stir through and remove from the heat.
  4. Fry four eggs in a separate pan.
  5. Serve the mince on steamed rice, topping with a fried egg.

Gordon Ramsay 1-million Subscriber Burger

Serves: 4

It is a truism, though an average burger is just that.

A waste of the calories. A waste of the excitement.

You’re in a resort and you order a burger and fries for lunch and the beef is well done and devoid of flavour; there is no love in the bun or the accompaniments.

A wasted meal.

Actually, I take it back.

An average burger is terrible.

It defeats the purpose.

Conversely, a brilliant burger is heaven.

It is the last meal and something you describe for days.

I learnt a while back that it fundamentally comes down to the beef. The quality, the fat, when it is ground and how it is cooked.

And so if if you read no more, based on this burger I am about to go into:

50 – 70% brisket

30 – 50% chuck

100gm butter per 1kg

Grind as thick as you can – the coarsest grain – and cook as soon as you can over a super-high grill.

This is the second time I have cooked this burger by Gordon Ramsay and it is the best burger I have ever had.

Which is not to say it has to be, though his key regarding the beef combination, butter and cooked rare (of course) is central. Any burger would be genius with this alone.

The recipe was released by Gordon after he hit 1-million Instagram subscribers.

He uses smoky bacon though I crisped up streaky bacon.

Otherwise, the rest is in relatively intact though I have rewritten the method.

It kills me when I make burgers for the kids from store-bought mince.

Though no more.

I don’t cut corners on much cooking. Burger meat will be the same going forward.

This is the best burger you will ever have if you follow the steps.

(And then adapt it!)

Ingredients

1kg equal brisket and chuck
100gm frozen butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
4 slices Swiss cheese

4 large portobello mushroom cups, step and gills removed
Garlic powder
4 large eggs
8 slices of streaky bacon, crispy and drained of fat
2 cups rocket
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

4 brioche buns
Butter for buttering

1/2 cup egg mayonnaise
4 tbsp sriracha sauce
Pinch of sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high.
  1. Get the bottoms of the mushrooms cooking. They will take time to soften and breakdown: at least 30 minutes. Of course, do not let them burn.
  2. Good time to start crisping up the bacon in a pan.
  1. Mince the beef with the frozen butter; otherwise, get your butcher to mince the beef and shave the frozen butter in a combine well. (The sooner to cook time this can happen, the better and if this blog has not sold you on it, supermarket mince is no substitute.)
  2. Form four equal, thick patties and refrigerate to chill. Remember they will shrink. Season well.
  3. Mix together the mayo, sriracha and salt.
  1. Butter the buns and grill them bottom side-down until they are browned.
  2. Turn up the grill, oil the beef patties and pop them on the grill.
  3. Flip the mushroom so that you can sprinkle a good pinch of garlic powder into each and then crack an egg into each.
  4. Flip the burgers after a minute or two. Cook for a minute more and then Swiss cheese on all until it melts.
  5. Take the burgers off and then the mushrooms when the eggs are done.
  6. Assemble: brioche, sriracha mayo, mushroom/egg, beef, tomato, rocket and more sriracha mayo on the top bun.
  7. Open a beer if you have not already done so by now.

Neil Perry’s Beef Chuck and Pea Pies

Serves: 4

Some nights simply call for a pie.

A few months back on a freezing Saturday, we agreed that we were heading for one of those nights.

And given that the finest pairing to a pie are peas, it was going to be hard to look past this pie from Neil Perry.

It is a pretty down-the-line pie recipe though that is kind of the point for “must have pie” nights. Beef that is falling apart, a cracking gravy and then those peas.

(Plus a proper mash where we diced in a raw eschallot – trust me, it’s brilliant.)

Open a bottle of red, put on a movie and boom, there’s pie night done!

Ingredients

1.25kg beef chuck, diced and cut into 3cm cubes, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp plain flour
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
200ml red wine
200ml veal or chicken stock
150gm frozen green baby peas, defrosted
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
1 – 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked with 1 tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160c. Toss the seasoned beef with the flour until evenly coated.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a high heat. Add beef in batches and cook for about five minutes per batch until well browned, then remove. Add more oil to the pan if it dries out.
  3. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the tomato paste and 1 tbsp flour and cook for a minute or so. Add the red wine and stock and stir until the mixture boils.
  5. Return the beef to the pan, cover the pan with foil and cook in the oven for at least two hours or until tender. Stir through the peas and mint. Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge until cold. (“Warm filling will ruin the pastry.”)
  6. When the beef filling is ready, heat the oven to 180c. Divide the pie filling among pie dishes and top each with a piece of pastry large enough to hand over the edge of each dish.
  7. Press the pastry down firmly around the edges of the dish and brush evenly with the egg yolk. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Sausage, Caramalised Onion, Harrisa and Hummus Pizza

Serves: 4

We’re suckers for homemade pizza.

We don’t have it often, though when we do, it’s Ugg Boots on, spicy salami, oregano and basil and plenty of cheese. Mushrooms, chilli, ham, egg, onion…

We also use whole meal pita bread which – I promise – delivers the best crust, time and time again.

We vary the toppings plenty however.

Tom loves his pineapple and Oliver experiments with different meats and cheeses.

And it’s a great night in with wine (parents) and popcorn (parents and children).

Though as proud as I am of my ownership of making homemade pizzas that are as good as you can make at home, I know my limitations and the limitations of homemade pizza.

It’s a great genre though it ain’t commercial pizza, however crispy and spicy I dial it up.

(Conversely, it’s fun to make, we can stay in and it’s cheap.)

The other night, despite it being Saturday night and having a booking at some clever Vietnamese restaurant near us, we both agreed we just could not be bothered.

Feeble suggestions for dinner were made, though cooking dinner was part of not being bothered. We also don’t do home delivery because it is always so disappointing.

I suggested homemade pizza because it epitomises my thinking of a perfect, unplanned dinner on the couch.

Nat agreed though as we drove home, she started lobbing trendy homemade pizza ideas at me. Sous-vided crab with scrambled eggs and chives, shaved pork hock with truffle and something with a whole side of smoked trout and a cod aniseed yoghurt.

Look lady, homemade pizza means crappy pizza, overloaded with cheese and burnt to hell. It doesn’t mean thinking about it and it certainly doesn’t mean prep.

Which is why, when Nat suggested this pizza, I wasn’t super amused and sulked all the way home.

So… let’s be clear.

This is the best homemade pizza I have ever had. Indeed, if I got this at a restaurant, I’d be pretty blown away.

It is just that good.

Which leaves me torn.

Can I ever just make another homemade pizza knowing this exists?

Fuck.

(Note, I have substituted wholemeal pita bread for making your own dough. I believe that for all that is decent about homemade pizza, you should too.)

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
Large punch of caster sugar
1/2 cup hummus
1 tbsp harissa
1/2 cup smoky BBQ sauce
1 1/4 cups pizza cheese
3 gourmet beef sausages
1 tbsp pine nuts
2 wholemeal pita bread
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220c and get your pizza trays ready.
  2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened. Add the sugar, stir well and remove from the heat.
  3. Mix the harrisa and hummus.
  4. Spread each pita bread with hummus and then drizzle with BBQ sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the pizza cheese. Top with caramelised onion.
  5. Squeeze sausage meat from casing and roll into 1cm balls; arrange on the pizzas. Sprinkle with the remaining pizza cheese and top with pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pita bread is crisp and the sausage cooked through. Serve topped with parsley.

Nigella’s Beef and Eggplant Fatteh

Serves: 4

Hats off Nigella, as simple – and predictable – as this recipe seems, when everything comes together; especially cooking everything as slow as you can, it is a wonderful weekend meal.

And it is quite literally is about it al coming together: the toasted pita chips, the mince and dollops of the warm yoghurt/tahini mixture.

Throw on top toasted pine nuts, shredded mint and pomegranate seeds* and you really couldn’t ask for more except for a second glass of wine as you watch Masterchef** on Monday night.

Hats off again. A cracker.

Ingredients

Base

4 pita breads, slit open and cut into nacho-sized triangles.

Topping

500gm Greek yoghurt
75gm tahini
45ml lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 – 2 tsp salt, to taste

Eggplant-beef layer

3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground paprika
1 – 2 tsp salt, to taste
500gm minced beef

Garnish

125g pomegranate seeds
50gm pine nuts, toasted
1 – 2 tbsp finely shredded mint leaves

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c.
  2. Spread the pita triangles on a large baking tray and toast in the oven until toasted, moving them around regularly to ensure even toasting. Set aside until needed.
  3. Bat the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and 1 tsp of salt together in a heat proof bowl which will later be used to sit over a saucepan. Check the salt levels and adjust as needed.
  4. Warm the oil over a low heat in a wide, heavy frypan. Add the onion and sauté for 10 – 15 minutes until softened and caramel.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium, add the eggplant cubes and stir well to mix with the onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until the eggplant is golden, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in the cumin, coriander and teaspoon of the paprika and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to high and add the beef mince, breaking it up. Cook until browned. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning.
  7. Heat a saucepan of water and bring to a slow simmer. Place the bowl of tahini-yoghurt mixture on top, ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Beat until the yoghurt is slightly above water temperature and has the consistency of lightly whipped cream.
  8. To assemble, arrange the crisp pita triangle on a large plate. Top with the eggplant-beef mixture, followed by the tahini-yoghurt sauce. Sprinkle with paprika to give a light dusting. Scatter over pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts and then finish with the shredded mint leaves.

* In a rush, I grabbed a Fuji fruit rather than a pomegranate. Laughs all round.

** Where we saw this recipe.

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves: 6 – 8

I originally found this recipe in the New York Times and dialled it up over the weekend as a meal for the three boys: doubled the quantity of meatballs, added fresh tomato to the sauce as well as a cup of red wine and a handful of oregano.

It smashed it out of the park.

The sort of dinner kids – and adults – die for on a Saturday night before a movie, popcorn and ice cream.

The meatballs are the cracker here, with handfuls of Parmesan, extra breadcrumbs, eggs and parsley, additions I added and have reflected below.

Slow cook the tomato sauce, throw in the browned meatballs and boom.

This is definitely worth coming home to.

Ingredients

Salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
1 kg beef mince
3 cups, grated Parmesan
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 breadcrumbs
3 eggs
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
3 cans crushed tomatoes
2 tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
Handful of fresh oregano leaves
500gm spaghetti

Method

  1. Heat the 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onions for 10 minutes until starting to golden; mince the garlic and add, cooking for a few minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves and the cup of red wine. Bring to the boil and then slowly simmer until the sauce is thickened; an hour or so.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the mince, 2 cups of the Parmesan (setting aside the remaining cup), the parsley, breadcrumbs, eggs and a good pinch or two of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Gently mix until it is combined.
  4. Shape the meatballs so that they are golfball in size.
  5. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet over a medium heat. Add the meatballs, cooking them on all sides until browned.
  6. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce and add the oregano leaves. Season well with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the meatballs, ensuring that they do not break up. Simmer on a low heat.
  8. Heat water in large sauce pan until boiling and cook the spaghetti until cooked through.
  9. Add the spaghetti to the sauce and meatballs, combining gently.
  10. Serve with plenty of Parmesan cheese on top.

Big veal, pork and prosciutto meatballs with Parmesan polenta

Serves: 6

These are the best meatballs either Nat or I have ever had.

Not only that, there is an agreeable distance between these meatballs and whatever is in second place.

I am not kidding.

These made us so happy and I think there are a few things that contributed to the success.

The original recipe was from Gourmet Traveller though we made a number of tactical (and genius in my opinion!) changes, both to method and ingredients.

If you served these at a dinner party, everyone – everyone – would pin you down al la Paul Newman when his friends locked him in his garage and made him make a barrel of his famous salad dressing.

If you served this at your restaurant, people would say, “Oh, you have to go to Lucio’s and try his big meatballs. They are incredible. They are equal in genius to Paul Newman’s salad dressing and I think it’s because Lucio uses 75/25% veal and pork mince.”

Get started today, let your mince combine in the fridge for 48 hours and open your own Lucio’s for the night!

Ingredients

Sauce

800gm diced, canned tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped mixed sage and oregano plus extra to serve
150ml red wine (leaving 600ml for you)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Torn mozzarella plus extra to serve

Polenta

1 cup milk plus extra as you go
1 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup polenta
50gm Parmesan, finely grated plus extra to serve
50gm butter, cubed and room temperature
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Meatballs

750gm veal mince
250gm pork mince
160gm Parmesan, finely grated
120gm coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 eggs
3 tbsp finely chopped mixed sage and oregano
8 thin prosciutto slices
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. 24 – 48 hours before cooking, combine the meatball mixture except the prosciutto slices and olive oil. Mix well and refrigerate.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions for 8 minutes or until soft and starting to golden. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 minutes, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the chopped herbs and cook for 30 seconds and then add the diced tomatoes and red wine. Simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, commence the polenta: in a saucepan, bring the milk and stock to the point of scalding though not boiling. Slowly whisk in the polenta and keep whisking for 45 – 60 minutes, adding small amounts of milk as need be, until the polenta is no grainy and you have a thick polenta mixture.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and butter, checking for seasoning. Set aside.
  5. While the polenta is cooking, divide the mince into eight and roll into large meatballs. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each.
  6. Heat olive oil over a medium-high heat and cook the meatballs on each side, making an effort to cook and caramelise the prosciutto: around 10 minutes. Transfer to the pan with the tomato mixture, turning occasionally until cooked through. 5 minutes before serving, drop some of the torn mozzarella into the sauce to melt.
  7. To serve, dollop some polenta onto your plates. Ladle a meatball on top with sauce. Sprinkle chopped herbs, grated Parmesan and torn mozzarella on top and serve.

Thomas Keller’s “Yabba Dabba Do”

Serves: 2 – 3

Yabba Dabba Do: Roasted Rib Steak with Golden Chanterelles, Pommes Anna and Bordelaise Sauce

For me at least, nothing beats a beautiful piece of standing rib steak and some amazing potatoes.

It’s almost a primal thing.

This Thomas Keller dish – one I have cooked a few times – is just wonderful and turns any Saturday or Sunday lunch into a long afternoon of wine, laughter and smiles. You just know something magic is going to happen when someone serves you an enormous standing rib!

A few points before you start:

  • The recipe asks for veal stock. I know I should invest the time and make a veal stock, though I so rarely use it. You will struggle to find veal stock so try and find veal glaze or veal jus and add a little bit and then water until you get the flavour of stock.
  • The recipe asks for Yukon Gold potatoes. A fruit-and-veg friend of Nat’s (I am serious) told her that this variety of potato is uncommon in Australia and to substitute… white potatoes.
  • The recipe asks for Chanterelle Mushrooms. Not only are these apparently the most expensive mushroom you can buy (not withstanding truffles), you can’t buy them. Well, you can’t buy them easily in Australia. We used portobellos and they were fine. It is after all the beef, potatoes and the sauce you came for.

Ingredients

Cote de Boeuf (Beef Rib)

1 double-cut rib steak (about 1kg or so)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Canola oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Bordelaise Sauce

1 cup red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon
1/3 cup sliced shallots (French onions)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
10 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp sliced garlic
6 black peppercorns
1 cup Veal Stock

Pommes Anna

10 pitted prunes
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 tbsp minced shallots (French onions)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes
6 tablespoons Clarified Butter (we used ghee)

Chanterelle Mushrooms

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 generous cup chanterelle mushrooms, washed, stems peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Thyme sprigs
A green vegetable: we did broccolini sautéed with garlic

Method

  1. Sprinkle all sides of the beef liberally with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 1 day to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. One hour before cooking, remove the beef from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature.

For the Bordelaise Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine, vegetables, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and garlic to a simmer and simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the peppercorns and veal stock and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the stock is reduced to a sauce consistency (abut 1/2 cup).
  2. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan.

For the Pommes Anna

  1. Place the prunes and chicken stock in a small saucepan; the prunes should just be covered with liquid.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the prunes are very soft. Remove the prunes to a chopping board and finely chop them. Add the shallots and salt to taste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  4. Peel the potatoes and trim into cylinders that are 5cm in diameter. Using a mandoline, cut the potatoes into 1mm slices and place the slices in a bowl of cold water for a minute to remove some of the starch. Drain and dry on paper towel.
  5. Put 2 tbsp of the clarified butter in a 20cm ovenproof non-stick skillet. Place a slice of potato in the center of the pan; lay more potato slices around the edge of the pan, overlapping them by half, until you have completely circled the pan. Continue with another overlapping circle inside the first. When the entire pan is circled by potato, season and repeat again with another layer of circled potato.
  6. Spread half the prune mixture over the potatoes leaving a 2cm border at the edges. Make 2 more circled layers of potato, spread the remaining prune mixture and then 2 more circled layers of potato.
  7. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup clarified butter over the potatoes and place the skillet over a medium-low heat.
  8. Once the butter begins to bubble, cook for 3 – 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure the potatoes are not sticking.
  9. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until the potatoes are well browned and crisp.
  10. When ready to serve, invert the pan onto a board and cut into wedges.

For the steak

  1. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, pat the steak dry and wrap the bones in aluminium foil to prevent from burning.
  2. Heat the 3 tbsp of the canola oil in a heavy ovenproof pan over a high heat. Add the steak and sear it for 4 to 5 minutes to until it is dark brown and crusty on the bottom. Flip the steak and brown the second side for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Pour off most of the oil and add the butter to the pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Baste the meat with the butter and pan juices, turn the steak over, sprinkle with salt and continue to cook, basting every 5 minutes for about 20 – 25 minute or until a thermometer reads 40c.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

For the Chanterelle Mushrooms

  1. Heat the butter in a skillet over a medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms, season and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and any liquid has evaporated.

To complete

  1. Rewarm the sauce over a low heat.
  2. Remove the string from the steak and cut the meat against the grain into 1 – 2cm slices.
  3. Plate the steak on a plate, arrange the mushrooms over the steak, spoon over some of the sauce and garnish with thyme sprigs and the mushroom at the side.

Thai Basil Beef

Serves: 4

Looking back on it, every blog here that is mince based, starts with something like: mince is the best, mince is our favourite, mince is our last meal, etc.

Because its true.

Any which way, we love it and Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai minces are up there as our favourite weeknight meals.

You’ve been at work, it’s raining, it’s on Monday and yet… you’re having spicy mince for dinner!

This Thai Basil Mince is super easy and you can’t overdo it on the basil front.

It is also healthy, even if you do have it with a cup of boiled Jasmine rice which… because it is Monday… you should.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil
500gm ground beef mince
2 shallots, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 birds eye chillies, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 lime, juice and zest
1 cup basil (Thai basil if you can)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
Chopped peanuts and crispy fried shallots to garnish
Jasmine rice to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan or wok and cook the beef mince and shallots until the meat is cooked and browning; about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the capsicum, garlic and chillies and cook until fragrant; another 2 – 3 minutes
  3. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime and basil and cook until the basil starts to wilt; about a minute. Taste test to make sure the balance of salty, sweet and sour is right.
  4. Garnish with the sliced spring onions, chopped peanuts and fried shallots. Serve with rice.